DC1: Towards an automatic characterization of micro-level structures in discourse from social networks

Open Doctoral Candidate/PhD Position at Radboud University (RU), The Netherlands, for the HYBRIDS project


Reference number: HYBRIDS- DC1

PhD research topic: Towards an automatic characterization of micro-level structures in discourse from social networks

Host institution: Centre of Language Studies, Radboud University (RU), The Netherlands

PhD Enrolment: Graduate School for the Humanities, Radboud University (RU), The Netherlands

Main Supervisor: Dr Nelleke Oostdijk, Radboud University (RU), nelleke.oostdijk@ru.nl

Co-supervisor: Dr Patricia Martín-Rodilla, Universidad da Coruña (UDC).

Inter-sectoral Supervisors:

  • Dr. César González, Agencia Estatal del Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
  • Dr. José Ramon Pichel, Factoría Software e Multimedia (IMAXIN)


  1. To address particularities of the discourse analysis and their automatization for short pieces of content (for example tweets or Reddit posts).
  2. To design a strategy to identify (micro)-units of discourse in short messages and their rhetorical relationships (e.g., opposition, causality, elaboration, etc.).

Expected outcomes:

  1. Hybrid methodology for the analysis and characterization of the peculiarities of short pieces of public discourse (from social networks) by making use of semantic-based NLP tasks such as identification of rhetorical structure, argument mining, paraphrasing, topic classification, and inference;
  2. Development of a system to identify and analyse discursively (micro)-units of discourse in short messages based on their particularities;
  3. To evaluate and validate the methodology and the system developed in practical use cases;
  4. A use case on immigration.

Planned secondments:

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Mobility: At the time of recruitment, the researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 36 months immediately before the recruitment date. Time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention or compulsory national service are not taken into account.
  • The candidate must be at the date of recruitment a doctoral candidate (i.e. not already in possession of doctoral degree). Researchers who have successfully defended their doctoral thesis but who have not yet formally been awarded the doctoral degree will not be considered eligible.
  • The candidate must agree to work exclusively for the action.

Specific requirements:

  • Degree: Master’s degree from a research university in the field of Corpus Linguistics, Computational Linguistics, Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, or any other relevant discipline
  • Programming skills: scripting languages such as R or Python
  • Language: Excellent command of English, together with good academic writing and presentation skills.

Desirable skills:

  • Familiar with current linguistic descriptive theory
  • Experience with computational approaches to linguistic analysis, text mining and/or NLP
  • Able to work independently and flexibly, taking initiative where required;
  • Able to communicate and collaborate effectively in a team setting

Estimated starting date: 1st July 2023

Contract: Full-time contract

Duration: 36 months, including 4 secondments of 2/3 months each, at other consortium members’ premises (see Secondment section)

Salary: The gross monthly salary amounts to €2,541.00 (minimum) to €3,247.00 euro (maximum) per month based on a 38-hour working week. You will also receive a; mobility allowance of €600 euro per month, and where applicable, a family allowance of €660 per month and a special needs allowance. You will receive 8% holiday allowance and 8.3% end-of-year bonus.

Application Documents:

  • Europass CV (template available in the following link), including the names and contact details of two academic references, in English, highlighting the merits that are established as evaluation criteria;
  • Scans of Bachelor’s and Master’s transcripts, with certified translation in English (if the degree qualification is not in English); If you have not yet completed your master’s, you must submit a provisional academic transcript.
  • A motivation letter in English, highlighting the consistency between your profile and the chosen DC position/s for which you are applying and describing why you wish to be aHYBRIDS Doctoral Candidate to carry out a PhD; (max. 700 words)
  • Scanned copy of your ID card, resident’s card or passport currently in force;
  • Proof of excellent command of English (e.g., IELTS, TOEFL, Cambridge or equivalent). This is not required in case you are a native English speaker (i.e., English is your mother tongue).

In addition, you can add any other documents which you find relevant for the applications such as Master thesis, publications or project reports.

Evaluation criteria:

  • Academic background (up to 40 points)
  • Knowledge and specific achievements (up to 35 points)
  • Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview in which the selection committee will assess the applicant’s communication skills, initiative, and motivation to pursue a PhD. (up to 25 points)

Deadline: April 26, 2023, at 23h59 CET (UCT + 01:00)


Candidates are encouraged to contact the HYBRIDS Project Manager (info@hybridsproject.eu) for assistance or for any information related to the application process. When contacting, please indicate the position reference in the subject line.

Enquiries about research content must be sent to the main PhD supervisor via email (see contact details in Supervisors section).